Kelly Neil

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Duck Confit

I was so intimidated to make duck confit. I've eaten it a few times in restaurants and it's always been so delicious that I thought it would be tough to replicate the incredible flavour at home.

I was wrong.

It's quite possibly one of the easiest things I've made and gives huge 'bang for your buck' flavour.

I didn't really follow a recipe, instead, I consulted a couple of chef friends for advice and then just kind of winged it. Is that a legit term grammatically? 'Winged it'? Also, is that in bad taste considering I'm talking about duck?

Oh dear.

Bad taste. 

*eye roll*

You can make this recipe with two duck portions + one container of duck fat or four duck portions + two containers of duck fat. I used four frozen duck legs, thighs attached, and two containers of duck fat that I got at Pete's Fine Foods. I didn't measure out salt, garlic, herbs and peppercorns, I just made sure each duck leg had lots.

Duck Confit

4 frozen duck legs, thighs attached, thawed

kosher salt

garlic cloves, sliced

bay leaves, torn

fresh herbs, chopped (I used rosemary and thyme)

peppercorns (I used pink and black)

2 x 300g containers of duck fat

canola oil

- sprinkle the bottom of a 9x13 Pyrex dish with kosher salt, sliced garlic, torn bay leaves, chopped fresh herbs and peppercorns - take each thawed duck legs and press, skin side down, into salt and herbs to coat - turn legs over, skin side up and repeat, making sure duck legs are well coated all over and adding more salt and aromatics if necessary - cover and refrigerate 12-48 hours (I did 48 hours)

- preheat oven to 200º - remove duck from fridge - line a baking sheet with paper towel - rinse each duck legs well under running water and lay on paper towel - pat dry with more paper towel 

-  wash Pyrex dish and return duck legs to dish, skin side up - place Pyrex dish on stovetop and turn burner to LOW heat - scoop duck fat over duck legs and allow to slowly liquify over legs - once duck fat is melted, top with canola oil if legs are not fully submerged - if you want, you can add more sliced garlic, torn bay leaves, chopped herbs and peppercorns - cover dish tightly with foil (as tightly as you can considering it's full of liquid) - carefully place dish in oven and cook duck overnight 8-12 hours (I cooked mine for 12 hours and it was amazing)

- carefully remove dish from oven and gently remove foil - using tongs, remove duck legs from dish and place in storage container (I used an 8x8 square Pyrex dish with a snap-on lid) - allow duck fat to cool slightly and then strain into storage container to remove aromatics and re-submerge legs - store in fridge

*most recipes I've seen will tell you to use a Dutch-oven style pot with a tight fitting lid to confit duck. I have two cast iron Dutch-ovens but wanted the duck to cook in the same pan so I used a 9x13 Pyrex dish covered in foil and was VERY careful when placing it in and removing it from the oven - if you're doing two duck legs you could use an 8x8 square Pyrex dish

* I know it is NOT RECOMMENDED to heat Pyrex dishes on the stovetop, but I used very low heat, just warm enough to liquify duck fat - don't do this if you're nervous about it

* I stored my cooked duck confit in the fridge for two weeks and then pulled all of the meat off and froze what was left - as long as the duck is submerged in fat, it will keep in the fridge for at least a month - you can reserve the duck fat after the fact and use it in place of butter or oil in cooking